“I’m on strike” I protested proudly.
The younger two of the three cried out in protest but I turned around and walked out of the room, not looking back. Hmm, this could make for an interesting morning.
Now, I know every sibling squabbles, but this goes on every morning before school and not only do they fight, they refuse to listen to me or do anything I ask unless I’ve asked at least three times and chucked a wobbly of my own. It’s like they know just how far to push me before that ‘cracking, out of control’ moment arises. I have four small children and my husband works long hours leaving the house at 5.30 most mornings. So, being on my own, listening to the constant squabbles and disagreements while trying to get four children out the door and three of them to school on time as well as get myself ready and leave the house in a tidy state, they had simply left me no other choice.
Back to the morning of my strike and all of the sudden the realisation kicked in – ‘she’s not joking, mum’s really not going to help us this morning!”.
“Which way do my tights go on” calls out my eldest daughter.
“Call your father and ask him” I reply calmly.
Squarks and cries of frustration come from my second eldest who’s five. She’s trying to put her hair up in a pony tail.
“Do you need some help” I ask
“Yes” she says
“Hmm, you should have thought about that when I asked you to help me” I reply
I do feel really mean at this stage. She is only 5 and in kindergarten. But it’s the principle. I just can’t continue to run around like a headless chook after my four children while feeling that they have no respect for their belongings, our home, me or even each other. So, I remind myself that I’m doing this for the greater good, for our home and our family – I hope!
Surprisingly, the girls are just getting on with it. In no time at all, all three big girls are showered, dressed, eaten breakfast, hair done, bags packed and are now making their lunches and packing their lunchboxes for school.
My eldest decides to call her father. Not sure what kind of response she’ll get (or in fact, I’ll get) when she tells him that I’m on strike. He’s good and a very good support for me – he ends up telling the girls that perhaps they need to help mum a little. Nice back up and actually really well accepted by the girls.
So, all in all, the morning has gone quite well. I managed to get the baby showered and dressed and fed, as well as myself, the house tidy and everyone into the car ahead of time. There may be a bit of vegemite to clear up from the kitchen bench and a little bit of bread was wasted as the girls decided to make flower shaped sandwiches, however overall – a pretty successful morning.
Perhaps they just needed a reason to prove how capable they are. They may be little but with very little fuss they were able to get themselves sorted for the day and we all left the house in high spirits to face the day ahead.
I don’t know if I succeeded in teaching them a lesson or whether my actions will help them to respect each other, me and the house more or whether it will make them band together more and fight less – but it definitely made us all realise that they are capable and can easily do things for themselves when the moment arises.
Let’s see how we go. Stay tuned.